Hudson v. Marsico et al
MEMORANDUM re MOTION for Reconsideration 28 filed by Rondell L. Hudson (Order to follow as separate docket entry)Signed by Honorable Sylvia H. Rambo on 9/5/17. (ma)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
DISTRICT ATTORNEY ED
MARSICO DAUPHIN COUNTY,
LAUDENSLAGER, MIDDLETOWN :
Civil No. 1:16-CV-0640
Judge Sylvia H. Rambo
In this § 1983 action, pro se Plaintiff Rondell Hudson asserts constitutional
claims based on excessive force, malicious prosecution, and lack of due process
against police officer Mark Laudenslager, the Middletown Police Department, and
Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico (“Attorney Marsico”). Presently
before the court is Plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration as to the dismissal of his
claims against all defendants. (Doc. 28.) For the reasons stated herein, Plaintiff’s
motion will be denied.
The court writes primarily for the parties, and because they are familiar with
the facts as discussed in the court’s memorandum and order of March 30, 2017, see
Hudson v. Marsico, Civ. No. 16-cv-0640, 2017 WL 1178034 (M.D. Pa. Mar. 30,
2017), the court will set forth only a summary of the facts and procedural history
pertinent to the instant motion.
On or about April 18, 2014, Plaintiff Rondell Hudson (“Plaintiff”) was
involved in a domestic dispute. (Doc. 1-1, p. 1.) According to the complaint,
Plaintiff’s ex-wife arrived at Plaintiff’s home to drop off their children pursuant to
a custody arrangement. (Id.) Plaintiff’s ex-wife was accompanied by a male
counterpart, referred to in the complaint as her “paramour.” (Id.) A physical
altercation ensued between Plaintiff and the paramour, with the paramour knocking
Plaintiff to the ground. (Id.) Plaintiff then went inside his home and called the
Middletown Police Department to report that he had just been assaulted,
threatening to “use lethal force if necessary to protect [him]self/home.” (Id.)
Plaintiff’s ex-wife and the paramour left before the police arrived. (Id.)
Officer Mark Laudenslager (“Officer Laudenslager”) of the Middletown
Police Department was the first to arrive on the scene, and, upon seeing Plaintiff
approach him, drew his service weapon and ordered Plaintiff to get on the ground.
(Id. at pp. 1-2.) Plaintiff repeatedly tried to explain that he was the one who had
requested police assistance, but to no avail. (Id. at p. 2.) A second Middletown
police officer, Officer Joshua Reager (“Officer Reager”), subsequently arrived,
approaching Plaintiff with his Taser drawn. (Id.) As Plaintiff said, “I’m getting
down, don’t shoot,” Officer Reager shot Plaintiff in the chest with the Taser. (Id.)
Plaintiff was then pushed to the ground and placed in handcuffs. (Id.) Once the
officers realized that Plaintiff was the person who had called for help, they
removed his handcuffs and had emergency medical personnel examine him. (Id.)
Approximately one year later, Plaintiff was charged in Dauphin County with
two counts of making terroristic threats, and Attorney Marsico prosecuted the case.
(Id.) One count was dismissed, but the second was supported by probable cause
and, after failed plea negotiations, proceeded to trial. (Id.) Plaintiff was found not
guilty at a jury trial in October of 2015. (Id.)
On March 30, 2017, the court granted Defendants’ motions to dismiss
Plaintiff’s entire complaint for failure to state a claim pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P.
12(b)(6), finding that Plaintiff had failed to offer facts sufficient to sustain any of
the claims. Presently before the court is Plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration
(Doc. 28), which has been fully briefed (Docs. 29 & 30) and is ripe for disposition.
Plaintiff has moved for the court to reconsider the dismissal of all of
Plaintiff’s claims. Under Fed. R. of Civ. P. 59(e),1 the moving party seeking to
Although not specifically recognized by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a motion for reconsideration may be
considered under Rule 59(e) or 60(b). Knopick v. Downey, 963 F.Supp.2d 378, 387 (M.D. Pa. 2013) (citing Klatch–
Maynard v. Sugarloaf Twp., Civ. No. 06–cv–0845, 2013 WL 1789744, *2 (M.D. Pa. Apr. 26, 2013)); see Jones v.
have the judgment altered must rely on one of the following grounds: 1) an
intervening change in controlling law; 2) the availability of new evidence; or 3) the
need to correct clear error of law or prevent manifest injustice. See Wiest v. Lynch,
710 F.3d 121, 128 (3d Cir. 2013) (citing Lazaridis v. Wehmer, 591 F.3d 666, 669
(3d Cir. 2010)). Motions for reconsideration may be appropriate in instances such
as where “the [c]ourt has patently misunderstood a party, or has made a decision
outside the adversarial issues presented to the [c]ourt by the parties, or has made an
error not of reasoning but of apprehension.” Reaves v. Pa. State Police, Civ. No.
09-cv-2549, 2014 WL 486741, *3 (M.D. Pa. Feb. 6, 2014) (quoting Rohrbach v.
AT&T Nassau Metals Corp., 902 F. Supp. 523, 527 (M.D. Pa. 1995)). The moving
party may not use a motion for reconsideration “to reargue matters already argued
and disposed of or as an attempt to relitigate a point of disagreement between the
[c]ourt and the litigant.” Ogden v. Keystone Residence, 226 F. Supp. 2d 588, 606
(M.D. Pa. 2002). Such a motion is not “a proper vehicle to attempt to convince the
court to rethink a decision it has already made.” Kropa v. Cabot Oil & Gas Corp.,
716 F.Supp.2d 375, 378 (M.D. Pa. 2010) (citing Glendon Energy Co. v. Borough
of Glendon, 836 F.Supp. 1109, 1122 (E.D. Pa.1993)). Similarly, a motion for
reconsideration may not be used “to raise new arguments or present evidence that
could have been raised prior to the entry of judgment.” Hill v. Tammac Corp., Civ.
Pittsburgh Nat'l Corp., 899 F.2d 1350, 1352 (3d Cir. 1990) (viewing a motion for reconsideration as the “functional
equivalent” of a Rule 59(e) motion to alter or amend a judgment).
No. 05-cv-1148, 2006 WL 529044, *2 (M.D. Pa. Mar. 3, 2006) (citing McDowell
Oil Serv., Inc. v. Interstate Fire & Cas. Co., 817 F. Supp. 538, 541 (M.D. Pa.
1993)). Motions for reconsideration should be granted sparingly because federal
courts have “a strong interest in the finality of judgments.” Kitzmiller v. Dover
Area School Dist., 388 F.Supp.2d 484, 488 (M.D. Pa. 2005) (citing Burger King
Corp. v. New England Hood & Duct Cleaning Co., Civ. No. 96-cv-6310, 2000 WL
133756, *1 (E.D. Pa. Feb. 4, 2000)).
In Plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration and supporting brief, he simply
restates many of the same factual allegations contained in both his complaint and
brief opposing the Defendants’ motions to dismiss. (See Docs. 1 & 22.) Plaintiff
has not identified an intervening change in the controlling law, nor has he
presented newly discovered evidence. Plaintiff thus appears to argue for
reconsideration based on the third ground, specifically to correct a clear error of
law or to prevent manifest injustice. Defendants argue that Plaintiff fails to assert a
legitimate basis for the court to reconsider its dismissal of all claims against all
Defendants. (See Doc. 29, pp. 4-6; Doc. 30, pp. 4-6.)
Here, Plaintiff has not identified an error of law or made any particular
showing of “manifest injustice” sufficient for the court to grant reconsideration.
See, e.g., Burger v. Mays, 176 F.R.D. 153, 155 (E.D. Pa. 1997) (granting motion
for reconsideration based on manifest injustice where the court’s initial decision to
preclude vital expert testimony was rooted in plaintiff’s failure to file a timely
response, which was attributable entirely to plaintiff’s attorney’s carelessness in
marking his calendar). In this respect, Plaintiff only states, “I feel I am due my day
in court to present these facts to a jury to allow them to decide” the issues. (Doc.
28, p. 6.) However, the court has already ruled in its memorandum and order
granting Defendants’ motions to dismiss that Plaintiff failed to allege sufficient
facts to even state an initial claim, much less to withstand summary judgment or
ultimately reach a jury. Plaintiff’s motion appears to be simply a request that the
court rethink its decision to dismiss Plaintiff’s claims, which does not satisfy the
narrow grounds for reconsideration. Accordingly, Plaintiff’s motion for
reconsideration will be denied.
For the reasons stated herein, the court finds once more that Plaintiff has
failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Accordingly, all claims
against all Defendants will remain dismissed. Plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration
will be denied. An appropriate order will issue.
s/Sylvia H. Rambo
SYLVIA H. RAMBO
United States District Judge
Dated: September 5, 2017
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